A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

In Classical Focus, Theodore Bell selects highlights from Jim Eninger’s Clickable Chamber Music Newsletter. Here are his top picks:

The week begins with a most intriguing idea – L.A. Phil Concertmaster Martin Chalifour discusses Stradivari and the luthier’s art embedded in a solo concert – a once-in-a-lifetime treat.  Hear it free (with reservations) at the Italian Cultural Institute in Westwood Friday evening.

On the weekend, two great flutists can be heard in the company of outstanding local chamber groups.  Musica Angelica features Stephen Schultz in an all-Baroque concert in Pasadena on Saturday and Santa Monica on Sunday, and Chamber Music Palisades features Susan Greenberg with guitarist Martha Masters in concert Sunday.  These concerts are worthy of your attention, and you can expect the very best.

Hear Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and Los Angeles Philharmonic Creative Chair John Adams at two events early in the week.  Monday evening he will discuss his opera “Nixon in China” with excerpts sung by members of the Long Beach Opera at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and on Tuesday evening he will offer commentary for the Upbeat Live lecture for the LA Philharmonic Green Umbrella Series featuring the LA Phil New Music Group at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

If I had to choose only one event this week…  find me in the Palisades!

Martin Chalifour features Stradivari
First Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Martin Chalifour, will present a fascinating program on the luthier art of the celebrated families of Cremona in the 17th and 18th centuries.  The concert will feature the music of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Jean Sibelius, and Igor Stravinsky.  This combination lecture-concert format by one of LA’s finest violinists will make for a wonderful exposition on the rarefied sound of these fine instruments and the artists who made them.

This unique event is made possible by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Los Angeles in collaboration with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, the Italian Heritage Culture Foundation, and the Barbera Family.

Friday, Jan. 29, 6:30 p.m.
Italian Cultural Institute, 1023 Hilgard Ave., Westwood
Free admission, although advance reservation is required; call (310) 443-3250, ext. 114.

Musica Angelica presents “The Art of the Baroque Flute”

Flutist Stephen Schultz and Musica Angelica present concerts in Pasadena and Santa Monica this weekend.  Schultz has performed with many of the finest early music ensembles in venues worldwide, and the San Jose Mercury News described him as  “among the most flawless artists on the baroque flute.”  Schultz is joined by Janet Strauss (violin), Suzanna Giordno-Gignac (viola), Joanna Blendulf (viola da gamba), and Katherine Shao (harpsichord).

The program includes: Handel’s Trio Sonata in G Major, Op. 5 No. 4 for flute, violin, and continuo; François Couperin’s Concert Royaux No. 1 in G Major for flute and continuo; the Bach French Suite in B Minor; Jacques Hotteterre’s Suite No. 3 in G Major, Telemann’s Paris Quartet No. 3 in G Major; and the Quartet for flute and strings by Johann Joachim Quantz.

Saturday, Jan. 30, 8 p.m.
The Neighborhood Church, 301 N. Orange Grove Blvd.,  Pasadena

Sunday, Jan. 31, 4 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica, 1220 Second St. (1/2 block south of Wilshire), Santa Monica

Tickets: $39. Call (310) 458-4504.

An Evening with Composer John Adams

Composer John Adams

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art presents Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Adams for an intimate evening of conversation and music from his opera “Nixon in China.” Adams will be discussing his acclaimed work with Long Beach Opera Music Director Andreas Mitisek, and excerpts will be performed by singers of the Long Beach Opera: Suzan Hanson, Ani Maldjian, Jeremy Huw Williams, and Roberto Gomez. Adams describes the work as “part epic, part satire, part a parody of political posturing, and part serious examination of historical, philosophical, and even gender issues.” Also on the program is Adams’ string masterpiece “Shaker Loops.”

Monday, Feb. 1, 8 p.m.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art – Leo S. Bing Theater, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., LA

Tickets: $25, $18 seniors and LACMA members, $5 students. Call (323) 857-6010.

LA Philharmonic Green Umbrella Series

The Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group will perform Tuesday at Walt Disney Concert Hall with Stefan Asbury conducting.  Thomas Meglioranza (baritone), Kiera Duffy (soprano) and Joseph Pereira (percussion) will perform Globokar’s Corporel for solo percussion, Maxwell Davies’ “Eight Songs for a Mad King,” and Schoenberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire.”  When “Pierrot Lunaire” premiered in Berlin in 1912, Anton Webern reported individual “hisses…unrest…and laughing,” before declaring it an “unqualified success.” The Freudians among us will revel in the extraordinary Expressionist style where the musical norm is defined only by its own idiosyncratic motifs and method, and where contradictions in mood rip the sonic psyche.  John Adams, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and Los Angeles Philharmonic Creative Chair, will discuss the program for Upbeat Live before the concert.

Tuesday, Feb. 2, 8 p.m.; Upbeat Live pre-concert presentation at 7 p.m.
Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., LA

Tickets: $51, $34, $26.Call (323) 850-2000.

Chamber Music Palisades

Guitarist Martha Masters, flutist Susan Greenberg, and pianist Delores Stevens, with Roger Wilkie (violin), and John Walz (cello) present a wonderful program in Pacific Palisades Tuesday night.  Chamber Music Palisades is celebrating its 13th season since Greenberg and Stevens founded the organization.

The program features Greenberg and Masters in duet on J.S. Bach’s Suite in C Minor for flute and guitar and Argentine Astor Piazzolla’s Histoire du Tango for flute and guitar.  I expect Susan Greenberg to shine; I heard her play Brazilian Villa-Lobos’ “Jet Whistle” (“Assobio a Játo”) last year, and she was great – in fact, the entire ensemble was great.

Other pieces on the program include Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Duo for piano and guitar, and Beethoven’s Variations on “Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu,” Op. 121a for violin, cello and piano.  Alan Chapman of KUSC will share his witty insights and commentary.

Tuesday, Feb. 2, 8 p.m.
The Sanctuary of Saint Matthew’s Parish, 1031 Bienveneda, Pacific Palisades

Tickets: $25 at the door, students with current ID admitted free. Call (310) 459-2070.